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New Owner Tips: Wheel Alternatives - Take a look closer to home

Old 11-28-2018, 02:55 PM
  #1  
MicVelo
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Default New Owner Tips: Wheel Alternatives - Take a look closer to home



For you newer owners, this is just a wheel tip for you. (For you older "members", nothing new here... heck, there's whole wheel threads on this topic! Laff.)

How many people here have considered wheel upgrades? Oh, maybe 90% or better of Z33 owners I'm willing to bet.

But then, you get on the market and see that a really nice set of true performance wheels and tires will set you back - at minimum - ~$2000. Used.

So, many say, "Forget that noise, I's gonna git me some knockoffs. Looks like the same thing...." Not a horrible thing if all you're doing is running them from point A to B (commute, events, etc.) Heck, couple years back, I did a totally non-scientific "test" of sorts showing that many replicas are perfectly acceptable for casual use and even for a good romp in the hills. I pushed the knockoffs hard with some seriously sticky rubber (to increase the stress on the wheels) just to see if I could break 'em. I didn't. (Disclaimer: No track use.)

However, many purists and competition minded type people would never have them. And for many good reasons I won't go into here. But let me make it clear here.... I'm NOT reviving the old "original versus knockoff" argument here. Just throwing out some money saving food for thought.

So yeah, there's some good looking wheels out there that cost a LOT less than a set of Volks and even an excellent set of Enkei RPF1s or other tried and true solutions.... you get the idea.

But consider this major pitfall: Saving money (a good thing of course) is offset by thinking you're doing something good for your cars when in actuality, the weight gains from some of these cheap wheels (and cheap, junky tires) over your OEM alloys are enough to kill and actually subtract from any actual performance gains. Steering response suffers (a very big selling trait of the Z car), acceleration is reduced, etc. And again, not to bring up the collision integrity argument here at all, just sayin', is all.

So, if the aftermarket offers "OK" wheels at a reasonable price, why am I on this topic to begin with? Well, was just going through craigslist doing a look-see on competitive pricing and found not one but two sets of 19" 370Z Sport wheels for sale. They don't come up that often; but yes, they do come up from time to time on the 370Z forum or craigslist (and always on EBay for $1500/set!). My advice to you is to at least consider them before parting with your hard earned bucks on some cheap junk. See why, below.

This pic from local ad.

I'm not gaining anything from this. I'm merely suggesting one look at the Z34 Sports as viable alternatives when budget challenged (and who isn't??)!

So here's why I buy them:

Good sizing: 19x9F 19x10R to run a solid set of decent rubber in sizes offering real performance gains: 255/35 and 285/35-19 (or 245/275, take your pick). Much better track width and more rubber, the gain is obvious but also not so large that you'll never bring the tires up to proper temp for best performance. Yes, you need to run 20-25mm spacers (at least in front) to get the right offset and fit for a 33 but it's a small penalty to pay given the following...

Great construction, price, and respectable weight: Construction/finish is excellent, I mean, c'mon, 19" Rays forged wheels for a grand?

No, at 23lbs each, they're not exactly svelte nor lightweight but they're not that heavy either. (Compare them to earlier, same sized V3 Nismo 19x10" wheels at 29#). Copies run in the 24-30# range for comparable sizes and copies aren't forged nor nearly as strong as these Sport wheels.

Looks: I personally think the crop of Z34 Sport wheels look great on a Z33. Subjective, of course, but here's an example:

(Borrowed from a my350Z.com member, thanks for the use of the image.)

And what's even better is that the newer (2013+) Sport wheels can be had for about the same price.


Tire size availability: There's actually a lot wider choice of quality 19" tires these days than 18s and at a much more competitive (about the same) price point. (Supply, demand, and higher volumes produced.) And if you shop around carefully, the weight penalty of the larger rubber isn't as drastic as some might think.

=================================

Anyhow, the only point here is that Nissan sourced some rugged, good looking wheels from Rays (who needs no introduction so I won't bother) and they're built to stand up to OEM standards and more - which says a lot considering they're going to be beat up raw; no, not by some enthusiast pushing them 9/10ths; rather, by someone who doesn't care about their wheels nor what they subject them to... like driving up and over curbs, parking stall limit blocks, and of course, potholes.

And the market will change again in the future. The 370Z crowd will eventually figure out that these are the rough equivalent to what Track V.1 wheels are to the Z33 people - best factory wheels - and will not be so quick to sell them as they are today. That car is still produced and so are the wheels; but one day.... prices of these wheels will go up as more realize how good they already have it. Not as dramatically as Track V.1s (due to their much more limited availability) but mark my words, more people will be keeping them in their garages even when they buy a set of Volks or Works.

Take a look around, some good buys out there and at half the cost, less weight, and twice the strength of some cheap garbage lids wearing Acme rubber bands, how can you go wrong?

No, I'm not selling mine, in case you're thinking this is a sales pitch preamble to a sale hahahaha.... not right now anyways. (FTR, I've bought/sold 3 sets of these already, finally keeping this last set since I need some wheels for, ahem, track tires. ) <===That's a warning to stay off the tracks in 2019. Ha!)

Fact (to show that I practice what I preach ): all but one of my (too many) Z33 wheel sets are Z34 Nissan/Rays wheels and I won't look back...

Nissan LMGT-5 (aka 370Z Nismo)


Nissan S-Tune LMZ5 (aka Z34 Accessory Wheels ) - My favorite wheels because they're very light for 19s (20#) and I never see these anywhere, not even on Z34s who they are built for!


EDIT: Case in point, just looked over on the other forum and there's two sets of the later model Sport wheels F/S and they don't seem to be able to even give them away. Been up and bumped for weeks! Maybe I'll buy 'em all up as "future investments"! Laff...

Not.

Last edited by MicVelo; 12-15-2018 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 11-28-2018, 04:15 PM
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I always thought it was peculiar how quickly we decide to abandon something that is perfectly fine and replace this for something that may not be even as good. It is fun to customize our cars, but we should always go in a positive direction. Wasting $$'s is foolish; acquiring a jewel and saving money is smart.

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How people buy stuff they can't afford, to get something they don't want, to impress people they don't like.
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:01 AM
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what do you think of the Track V1 ? I know that they are smaller then the Z34 wheels, and will limit tire size, but how do they stack up as an upgrade, given their weight advantage?
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Old 11-29-2018, 04:13 AM
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Originally Posted by jv350z View Post
what do you think of the Track V1 ? I know that they are smaller then the Z34 wheels, and will limit tire size, but how do they stack up as an upgrade, given their weight advantage?
IMO, Track V1 is the standard by which OEM wheels should be built. Reasonable sizes, very strong, very light. Best OE Z wheel, ever!

Last edited by MicVelo; 11-29-2018 at 12:25 PM.
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Old 11-29-2018, 07:22 AM
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Another great Mic thread and I'll also add one caveat for the Z34 wheels. Check the lug seat shape on most OEM Z34 wheels, as Nissan went with a different shape with the flat flange to secure them. Any Z33 pilot who throws a set of these wheels on with the standard Z33 lug nuts is in for an unpleasant surprise when they come loose!

Finally, I'll add my kudos to those Rays V1 wheels, they are just about everything you want in a lightweight, forged alloy wheel.
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